Colo. AG hails charter school ruling

Chris Rizo Feb. 20, 2009, 11:23am

John Suthers (R)

DENVER, Colo. (Legal Newsline)-A Colorado Court of Appeals decision that upholds a law allowing the state create charter schools within local school district boundaries has drawn praise from Colorado Attorney General John Suthers.

A three-judge panel on the appeals court ruled that the controversial law is legal because the statute does not require a local district to establish charter schools and the law allows school districts to seek exclusive authority over charter schools within its boundaries.

The 2004 Colorado Charter Schools Act was challenged by the Boulder Valley School District, which said the law could take state money away from the district.

Additionally, the school district argued that the state Legislature lacked the constitutional authority to create and fund charter schools that are not controlled by local school boards.

The appeals court ruled Thursday that the Colorado General Assembly did not overstep its authority when it authorized creation of the state-funded Colorado Charter School Institute, which authorizes and manages Icharter schools independent of local school district authority.

"We are pleased that the court of appeals agreed with us that Boulder Valley School District is wrong to claim that Colorado Legislature cannot provide educational options that are not under the control of local districts," said Suthers, a Republican.

"The Charter School Act is particularly helpful to provide school options for kids in low-income and minority communities in our state," he added.

Colorado Solicitor General Dan Domenico, who defended the state in the case, noted that more than 6,000 Colorado students and their families are taking advantage of the opportunity charter schools offer.

"We are relieved that the court of appeals, like the trial court, agreed that they may continue to do so," he added. "I certainly hope that Boulder, which isn't affected by these schools at all, will accept the judgment of the courts and not continue its wasteful efforts to shut down these families' schools."

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